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The ongoing struggle to retain the VA in Hot Springs has taken on another dimension, as was outlined at the Save the VA town hall meeting last week, and it will give a broader voice to the efforts.

As Hot Springs Mayor Don De Vries noted, the past two years has been about retaining the services offered at the more-than-100-year-old facility for the veterans it serves.

While that will deservedly remain the centerpiece of the effort, the news that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) opens the door to more people who are affected.

Now, through the process set down in the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, property owners, business owners and others will be able to share now they feel the proposal to close the Hot Springs facility will affect them.

It is, in a nutshell, a very wide net that is cast to capture everyone’s thoughts and opinions, because an EIS encompasses all aspects of the proposed action

While it is still too early to begin submitting personal notes and letters regarding the EIS, it is not too early to starting thinking about what you want to say .

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And, as was pointed out at the meeting, it is certainly not too early to enlist the people you know – co-workers, neighbors, friends and more – in putting thoughts down in preparation.

That way, when it is time to act, everyone is ready to roll.

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